Inspiration in Art: An Escape from Corporate Culture

As a business consultant for one of the world’s largest technology and consulting companies, I spend my working week in airports waiting for my boarding zone to be called, filling up on Biscoff cookies, flipping through the latest Sky Magazine, driving a rental car and paying for meals with a corporate Amex.

On a typical day, I balance a never-ending email inbox, expense reports and excel spreadsheets, all the while ‘following up’, ‘circling back’ and ‘touching base’ with the client to determine the ‘scope’ of work and maximise ‘value added’ – or my favourite, ‘taking it offline’.

With so many stale, overused “consultantisms” pervading the business world and diluting the vocabularies of corporate professionals, it can be difficult to keep a fresh, creative mindset.

Eager to trade meeting invites for real-life inspiration, I often head to the most inspiring place I know and my favourite hideaway – the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.

After moving to Boston last September and discovering that the Museum of Fine Arts was less than half a mile from my apartment, the love affair began. I wouldn’t consider myself an art aficionado but after one afternoon in the MFA, I was hooked.

With so many exhibits, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Among the MFA’s most recent special exhibitions is the New Blue and White, a collection of iconic blue and white ceramics including Blue Willow plates and ceramics from the porcelain-production capital of China, Jingdezhen, as well as modern interpretations. The exhibit feels like a walk through time from traditional blue and white ceramic windmills from Holland to pieces such as Caroline Cheng’s Prosperity, a kimono covered with thousands of blue porcelain butterflies that draws on the duality of the Chinese word “fu” meaning both “prosperity” and “clothing.”

Other special exhibitions have included the Mario Testino exhibit, British Royal Portraits, featuring both publicised and private photos of Prince William and Kate Middleton as well as other members of the House of Windsor. Many of the photos are on exhibit for the first time in the U.S. – perfect for anyone with a Kate Middleton obsession.

In addition to these exhibitions, the MFA also recently boasted an authentic true-to-scale recreation of a Buddhist temple room – the perfect spot for a peaceful respite from the daily grind.

After a visit to the Buddhist temple room, another favourite was housed in the Lind Family Wing for Contemporary Art. The MFA’s  impressive contemporary art collection contains “more than 850 works of painting, photography, works on paper, sculpture, installation, decorative arts, craft, design, and new media, such as video and LED”. My favourites include a fragile basket fashioned from melted Pyrex and a collection of bedazzled Triscuits, Ritz crackers, and a Hellman’s mayonnaise jar.

So the next time you find your creativity stifled by the confines of a corporate job, grab a cappuccino and head to the nearest art museum to refresh your perspective —and if you happen to find yourself in Boston, be sure to check out the MFA.

Article by Kristen Kehner

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